South Carolina has more than 8,000 miles of river, 460,000 acres of lakes, and 3,000 miles of coastline, according to South Carolina’s Department of Natural Resources. This landscape makes it perfect for boating, which many individuals and families enjoy. However, this also makes it a prime location for boating accidents.
At Stewart Law Offices, we receive a lot of questions about boating accidents. Here are the most frequently asked questions about boating accidents and their answers.
How Common Are Boating Accidents?
The U.S. Coast Guard reports the following statistics about recreational boating accidents that occurred throughout the country in the most recent year for which data is available:
- 4,168 accidents
- 613 deaths
- 2,559 injuries
- $55 million in property damage
North Carolina accounted for 128 of these accidents and 16 fatalities.
South Carolina was responsible for 141 accidents and 15 fatalities.
Who Is Liable for a Boating Accident?
Like with other motorized vehicle accidents, a negligent operator of a boat is usually liable for boating accidents. However, there are some situations when other parties may be responsible for accidents, such as:
- Employers – An employer can be responsible if an employee is operating a boat negligently while working.
- Manufacturers – If a boat or boat component is defective, the manufacturer may be responsible.
- Government – In some instances, the government responsible for maintaining navigable waters may be responsible for accidents, such as when failing to warn boat operators of dangers or if a government worker negligently navigated a boat.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents?
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the five primary contributing factors to boating accidents are:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
Other common causes of boating accidents include:
- Machinery failure
- Defective equipment
- Propeller problems
- Navigation rules violations
- Restricted vision
- Failure to vent
- Sharp turn
- Drug use
- Hazardous waters
How Do I Receive Compensation for a Boating Accident Injury?
You can work with a boating injury lawyer to investigate your accident and collect evidence regarding the defendant’s negligence. A boating lawyer can also identify all potential sources of compensation.
What Is the Deadline to Make a Claim for Boating Accidents?
Each state has a deadline to file certain types of legal actions. This is known as the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in South Carolina is three years for personal injuries. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in North Carolina is also three years.
What Are Some Major Laws Surrounding Boating Accidents?
Boat operators in South Carolina must follow strict rules surrounding the safe operation of boats. If they violate these laws, they may be subject to fines, the revocation of their boating license, and even jail time. Some South Carolina boating regulations include:
- Operators cannot operate a boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Each boat must contain one U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device for each person on board.
- Boats must use navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.
- Operators cannot exceed idle speed within 50 feet of an anchored vessel, dock, wharf, pier, or person in the water. Additionally, operators cannot exceed idle speed within 100 yards of the Atlantic coastline.
- Boats operated in coastal waters must carry flares.
- Operators must report any accident that results in the loss of life, injury, unconsciousness, or medical treatment to the Department of Natural Resources.
- Boats must carry a sound-producing device or bell and whistle, depending on the size of boat.
Contact Stewart Law Offices for Help with Your Boating Accident
If you or a loved one was injured in a boating accident, do not hesitate to reach out to experienced boating lawyers from Stewart Law Offices. We can investigate your claim and identify all potential sources of compensation. We do not collect any attorney fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to get started.